“In Sudan we have three seasons. They are SUMMER and SUMMER and SUMMER” joked a former Sudanese friend of mine while sipping tea at the Sackville/Goderich Streets Ataya Base in Freetown in 2002.
• “Well in Sierra Leone we have only two seasons and you can describe them in four ways” I joked in return, “they are the WET and DRY seasons (1st way) or the PORTOR-PORTOR and DUST seasons (2nd way) or the ORANGE and MANGO seasons (3rd way) or the HARVEST and HUNGRY seasons (4th way).”
• After my joke, a ‘Kankanka’ Roast Meat seller sitting next to me told me that I was wrong. He said “in Sierra Leone, there are 12 seasons. They are the HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and HARD-UP and Hard-UP seasons”
• “Hard-up” means “to be broke”. So 12 seasons of hard-up means to be broke for 12 months throughout the year. We laughed at the "figurative" over our last round of ATAYA with KANKANKAN.
• After leaving the Base, my mental boundary defining seasons became broader. Now I know that depending on who you talk to there can be climatic seasons, economic seasons, psychological and even political seasons in Africa.
• Depending on who you talk to, there can also be variations in the number of seasons depending on their being climatic, economic, psychological and political seasons. For example, the number of seasons in Sierra Leone can change from 2 to 12. I was even told that in Cameroon, there is only one season – “the Paul Biya Season” meaning only one political season or regime exists forever. Most of central Africa and the Great Lakes region have the same "one-regime-forever" season.
• Elsewhere in the OYIBO land of America, just watch the behavior of leaves in order to understand the TRANSITION seasons between HOT TIME (Summer) and COLD TIME (Winter). When the leaves SPRING UP because extreme cold is going away, the season becomes SPRING. And when the leaves FALL because extreme cold is coming, the season becomes FALL. If the leaves in America are afraid of "extremity", what about the "hanging-in-there" human leaves of Africa?